What Your Baby Really Needs: A Minimalist Baby Registry

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When you’re preparing for a baby, especially your first baby, all the baby gear and stuff can seem overwhelming! And especially for those of us who are trying to create a frugal or minimalist baby registry, it can be hard to know what to prioritize!

Babies are about as expensive as you make them. They truly don’t need a ton of stuff. And a lot of what they use is used so briefly that it’s easy to find quality items in consignment stores or on Facebook marketplace for a fraction of what it would cost to buy them brand new. But many mamas will have a baby shower and will receive a lot of brand new gifts. Your baby really only has a few basic needs, so when you build registry, register for gifts that are actually going to be helpful to you, not just clutter up your house. Skip to the end for a super basic baby registry checklist!

Your baby needs nourishment.

I breastfed both my babies and didn’t need to pump regularly, but if you use formula or exclusively pump you will need some other items!

Nursing pads. For disposable pads, I like these ones by Lansinoh. For reusable, I like these ones.

A nursing/feeding pillow. Whether you’re feeding from the breast or a bottle, it’s nice to have some extra support while holding the baby. It’s surprising how heavy a baby can get when you’re not used to holding him! I’ve always just used the traditional Boppy pillow, but the breastfeeding support group I go to has the My Breast Friend pillows and they are pretty awesome!

A comfortable place to feed the baby. You very well may already have a great, comfortable place to feed your baby in your home, but if not, it’s worth investing in a comfortable chair for yourself. I love my gliding rocker (WITH the foot stool!). One of my special memories of my first son’s early days is my husband setting up a little nursing corner for me. I had my glider, a side table with a small lamp (great for middle-of-the-night diaper changes!), books to read, a water bottle, and a basket of snacks all within easy reach.

A manual pump. I LOVE this manual silicone pump. I so wish I’d had it when my babies were brand new. It uses gentle suction and you can use it while you’re nursing your baby to catch leaking milk on the other side. If you want to build up any sort of breast milk stash you don’t want any going to waste, especially in the beginning when it’s abundant!

Breast milk storage bags. I’ve used a few different brands, but Lansinoh is my favorite.

You may also want a good book on breastfeeding to have as an easy reference. These are a few of my favorites:

“Breastfeeding Made Simple” This is my favorite. Thorough and easy to reference.

“The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” Also very thorough, and probably a little more in depth in some ways.

“So That’s What They’re For!” A light, conversational tone. Very easy read, but not quite as easy to reference.

Your baby needs safety.

A place to sleep. What you choose for your baby to sleep in really depends on what your sleep plans are. My babies usually start out in their own bed and then move into my bed at some point during the night. It’s the best way for everyone to get enough rest. Always be aware of safe sleep guidelines, whether your baby is sleeping in his own bed or you are bedsharing.

As newborns, I like my baby very close, so a cosleeper or bassinet works well. A side sleeper is another great option. Your baby has his own space but is still nearby and easy to feed and check on.

I moved both my boys to a crib across the hall around 2 months. At this point they’re more easily disrupted by noise and other people moving around, so everyone sleeps better this way. I bring them into my bed when they need to nurse, and sometimes they still sleep significant portions of the night with me. We registered for a crib and mattress and chose one that could be made into a regular bed once we were done having babies.

A carseat. We like this Chicco seat for newborns and this Graco one for whenever they grow out of the newborn one all the way through booster age.

Infant care kit. I find the easiest, cheapest way to get basic items like a thermometer, a bulb syringe, nail clippers, etc. is to just get a basic nursery care kit. You can replace some items if you want to ( a Nose Frida instead of a bulb syringe, for instance), but at least you’ve got the basics.

Baby wash. I hardly ever use soap on my babies, but you might want to for a bad blowout or something. I usually use a Shea Moisture wash, but I love California Baby too. Both rate low on the Skin Deep Database.

Moisturizer. I rarely use actual lotion on my babies, but when I do it’s Shea Moisture. If I think they need some moisturization, I typically just use olive oil. If they’re going to be out in cold weather where their face might get chapped or windburned, I use raw shea butter. It’s kind of messy and hard to spread, but it’s very gentle and provides a great moisture barrier.

Diaper Ointment. If my babies have a rash, I typically start with going diaperless and using coconut oil or raw shea butter. If I need to I use Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. I try to keep things as natural as possible, but if the rash isn’t going away I use what works.

Your baby needs comfort.

Baby carrier.  A good carrier is a must-have. I’m sure babywearing saved my sanity (or at least my grades) when my oldest was a newborn. For the newborn stage, I love the Moby wrap. It can seem complicated at first, but I really like that it’s fully adjustable and so snuggly. A less complicated option would be the K’tan. The only downside is that you may need more than one size if more than one person will be wearing the baby. A structured carrier can be nice too, and are often easier for dads to manage. The Ergo and 360 are both great options. Use my affiliate links if you want, but honestly you can find really good deals on lightly used ones on Facebook marketplace ; ) Once my babies get a bit bigger (which is usually fast), I love a Mei Tai-style carrier. They are one-size-fits-all and easy to use. Again, easy to find used.

Clothes. People are going to get you clothes, so register for some outfits you actually want. Lots of onesies, socks (my kids never fit into the smallest sizes), sleep sacks, sun hat, jackets, maybe a special event outfit in each size? Just have fun with it.

Blankets. A couple nice big swaddle blankets are great for the newborn stage. I love muslin blankets for summer, and flannel ones for winter. People will probably get you lots of cute, soft blankets, but register for some that are big enough to swaddle with or if swaddling feels overwhelming, try these swaddle sacks. Also, sheets for whatever size crib or pack ‘n’ play you have.

Diapers. Disposable diapers can become really expensive, so by all means register for diapers! My oldest had pretty sensitive skin and could only use Pampers swaddlers. I part-time cloth-diapered both of my boys, and cloth-diapering has been a great money-saver for us! There are so many great cloth diapers options, but I really like the Alvababy pocket diapers, GroVia, and prefolds with Thirsties covers. Don’t forget wipes too!

Sound Machine. White noise is a necessity for decent baby sleep in our small, one-floor house. I like this one for home and this one for travel. As an alternative, you can just use radio static from a CD player. Then when your baby is three like my oldest, he can listen to audiobooks from the library. I know CD’s are a bit obsolete, but I’m comfortable with my three-year-old operating a CD player by himself. Not so with digital downloads and devices connected to the internet.

Speaking of CD’s, both my kids genuinely love music. JJ Heller’s lullabies are beautiful and soothing, both for mamas and for babies. I also love these Scripture-based lullabies and these Celtic lullabies.

Essential Oils. I don’t sell essential oils, nor am I brand loyal. I’ve personally used doTerra and Young Living, and I love both frankincense (immune-boosting and so nice for skin, both mom’s and baby’s) and the Young Living Gentle Baby blend (calming and just smells so good). If you use essential oils with your baby make sure you’re doing it safely!

Your baby needs you.

More than anything, your baby needs you. Your love and care for your baby matters way more than what you feed your baby, whether or not they’re using all organic, non-toxic toys, or what kind of stroller you get. So take good care of yourself in those early days of parenting. Invest in some items or services that will help you be a sane, happy, healthy mother to your little one. And don’t forget about your partner too. Having a new baby is a huge adjustment for both parents!

A few good friends. Being a new mom can be isolating. Maintain the friendships that are really good for you. You may loose some friends during this stage of life and that’s ok too. But spend time with women you can be real with.

Restaurant gift cards and fresh or frozen meals. Whether it be to have a date night with your spouse or order some take out, food that you don’t have to cook or clean up is pretty awesome during those first weeks and months with a new baby.

Help. Society doesn’t like to recognize it, and culturally it’s not always acceptable to ask for help. If you have friends and family members that you’re comfortable receiving help from, take it. If you don’t have a good support system, hiring a postpartum doula for even a few hours a week can be a lifesaver! Even if you do have a good support system, a postpartum doula is specially trained to help care for new mothers in a way that is empowering and validating to their motherhood journey.

Shared experiences with your baby. Memberships to local zoos, museums, or botanical gardens can be a great way for others to invest in experiences and memories for you to have with your baby. And those are priceless.

A Super Basic Registry Checklist {for Getting Started}

What are your must-have baby registry items? Let me know in the comments!

Vaginally-Born Babies Can Have Respiratory Issues Too: My Own Experience

I am not a medical professional. Please research your options and discuss them with your care provider when making health decisions. This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting this free resource! See full disclosure here.

So in my recent post about the benefits of vaginal birth I shared a lot of studies that show increased rates of asthma, allergies, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and others among children who were born by cesarean. Whenever I share about negatives associated with a certain practice or outcome I’m afraid of making parents who have experienced those outcomes feel criticized or judged or guilty or just bad in any way.

Cesarean birth does increase those risks, but it is just one of many factors. There are so many decisions you make as a parent that are important to your kids. And let’s be honest, physical health matters, but there are lots of things that matter more to our kids, like feeling safe, knowing they’re precious to you, nurturing their souls. And there are all kinds of outcomes we can’t control. Nothing we do can guarantee a perfectly healthy kid.

When I was preparing for the birth of my firstborn avoiding a c-section was a pretty high priority to me. I knew the cesarean rate was high in the US and wanted to decrease my risk as much as possible. I switched care providers around 30 weeks because of the red flags I was seeing in my initial care, and I had a pretty textbook vaginal delivery.

And my son still has a weak respiratory system. So I just want to share my own experience in hopes that parents won’t feel like they’ve somehow failed their child if the child was born by cesarean. And to remind them that there are sometimes circumstances that are simply outside our control, but that there are a thousand good ways to be a parent that are within their control.

My Own Experience with Having a Child with Respiratory Issues

My two sons were both born vaginally. They were born at home, so they weren’t exposed to some of the concerning bacteria more common in a hospital setting.

But my oldest is definitely prone to respiratory issues. It seems like every time there is a respiratory bug going around he gets it and gets it bad. Though he’s never been officially diagnosed with asthma, as a baby he had wheezing , and we gave him albuterol through a nebulizer (though we chose to forego the steroids). I’m pretty cautious with medication for my kids, but it was definitely scary enough for me to give it to him without a second thought. Though he’s not as sensitive as he used to be, he easily develops asthma symptoms whenever he has more than a miniscule amount of dairy.

So he has the birth factors for a lower risk of respiratory issues, yet he still has them. I have my own theories as to why he does have them and why my second child doesn’t (at least not yet).

What My Kids Have in Common

1. With both babies, my water didn’t break until pretty shortly before they were born, so they had less time to be “soaking” in vaginal flora. Was this within my control? Technically, yes, I guess I could have asked to have my midwife break my water sooner, but not much sooner, because I’ve had pretty quick births. And there are risks to artificial rupture of membranes that, for me, aren’t worth the possible benefit of my baby being exposed to vaginal flora for a slightly longer period of time.

2. I don’t know that my own microbiome was all that healthy to pass on to them. Mothers pass their microbiome almost directly to their babies, and my own mother was not breastfed, so when I was born, her own microbiome was probably not in optimal health. And I wasn’t very consistent about taking probiotics or anything. I don’t know if this has anything to do with it; it’s just something I wonder about. Do I have control over the microbiome that was passed on to me? Nope. Could I have improved my own microbiome more? Probably. But I’m not beating myself up about it.

3. My husband has asthma and allergies, so I wonder if there’s a genetic component. Do I have control over his genetics? Nope.

So these are all factors that both my babies have in common – same birth setting, similar birth events, and same dad. But my second baby is now 11 months old, and so far he hasn’t had the respiratory issues that my firstborn has (which started around 9-10 months).

What We Did Differently with Baby #2

Of course there were some differences between my first and second. They obviously have a difference set of genetics, though with some in common. My first was born in late fall, my second in early summer. We skipped the Vitamin K shot with my second. We already knew we weren’t going to circumcise, so we didn’t get it. Honestly, I didn’t give it much thought at the time, and future babies might get the shot, or we may do the oral vitamin K drops. I just haven’t researched it enough to be sure I’m comfortable either way. Here‘s a great article from Evidence Based Birth on the research behind the vitamin K shot.

I’m not sure what if any effect any of those differences have had on my second born’s respiratory health, and some of them aren’t within my control. But there is one thing we purposefully and conscientiously did differently.

We introduced food differently.

With my firstborn, I did a modified baby-led weaning approach.   He had a few tastes of food around 5 months, and I started giving him a small amount of food every day starting at 6 months. He got his first tooth at 7 months, and by 8 or 9 months, I was pretty laid-back about what he ate. He didn’t eat junk food or anything, but as long as it was real, unprocessed food, I wasn’t too worried about it. So he definitely had dairy and eggs and nuts and some of those other harder-to-digest foods well before a year old. And we eventually discovered he had a dairy intolerance that significantly worsened his respiratory issues, especially the asthmatic wheezing.

With my second, I was really hoping to avoid food allergies and intolerances, so I took a different approach. We still did a sort of modified baby-led weaning approach (by modified, I mean we mostly let our babies pick up food and feed themselves, experiencing a greater variety in textures, but when it was convenient we mashed up food and spoon-fed them).

But this time we introduced foods more slowly, starting with foods that were the most easily digestible, and then moving on to harder-to-digest foods, per the recommendation of our naturopath. He also had a few tastes of food around 5 months and started eating food more consistently at 6 months, but he already had teeth by 4 and a half months, so quite a bit earlier than my firstborn.

So far he’s mostly just had fruits and veggies (minus the more acidic ones like strawberries, tomatoes, pineapple, etc.) and beans. He’s getting his molars now, so we’ve tried a few grains (no gluten yet) and a tiny bit of meat. We’ll still wait a while for dairy, gluten, and nuts. We make additions slowly so that we can watch for reactions, and if he does show any signs of sensitivity we stop the new food and try it again after a month or two. By this age, my first born had started wheezing. We’ll have to wait and see if my second baby develops asthma or any other respiratory issues, but so far, so good.

Ultimately, I don’t know if this different approach to feeding will make a big difference for my second child’s health. He also has a different set of genes to work with. But I have more information now, along with my personal experience with my first child, and I’m trying something different.

I share my own experience not because the research and statistics on method of delivery and childhood health doesn’t matter; I believe it does. I just share it because the development of these health issues is so multifaceted, and statistics are just that, statistics. Nothing we do can guarantee perfect physical, psychological, or spiritual health in our children. We just do the best we can with the knowledge we’ve gathered, the choices we’ve made, and the circumstances we’ve been given.  

I’m not totally sold on any one way of infant food introduction. I’d love to hear  your own experience of how you introduced food to your baby and if they have any food allergies, asthma, etc. Tell me about it in the comments!

7 Ways to Nurture Joy in Parenting

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting this free resource! See full disclosure here.

I have wanted to be a mother for most of my life. I am crazy about my children. I always call my two boys, “My treasures”, and I mean that with all my being.

But this parenting thing is tough.

It’s not for the faint of heart. When you’re trying to do everything right, to parent well, to be a good spouse, to keep the house respectably clean, to keep the kids healthy, to not let them grow up to be menaces to society…

Sometimes you lose the joy.

Sometimes you’re soooooo tired. Sometimes you think if that kid whines one more time your anger is gonna turn you into this ugly monster you hate. Sometimes you think you’d give your right eye to get to sit through one supper without the baby wanting to nurse, or to get 15 minutes alone with your husband before you’re both so doggone tired, or be able to read more than 2.3 sentences in that book you’ve been trying to finish for the last six months.

And it’s ok to want those good things and make ways for them to happen.

But if you’re like me, those things aren’t happening every day. In fact, you’re lucky if they happen once or twice a week. And the majority of your time is spent taking care of other people’s needs. You’re meeting goals at work. You’re teaching the three-year-old to wipe his butt. You’re fixing your husband’s lunch for the next day while he’s asleep on the couch and the rest of the house is quiet because, gosh that man works hard.

And if you’re a stay-at-home mom or a work-at-home mom (or dad), you’re spending a LOT of time with your children, your wonderful, amazing, frustrating, exhausting, lovable , drive-you-crazy-all-day-long children. If you’re a working parent, you’re probably coming home after a long day with limited reserves left to invest into your kids.

And maybe you need to find the joy in parenting again.

Maybe you just really want to enjoy your kids and consequently your life.

I’ve found this to be true over and over again. I’ve had to seek it out and take initiative and make it a priority. So, with no further ado, here are some things that I have found indispensable in my quest to enjoy parenting my children.

#1 Get down and play with them.

You guys, this is SO HARD for me. I had a recent conversation with one of my cousins. She is the second of nine kids and her parents are SO GOOD at this. She is getting married soon and anticipating starting a family, and we were talking about all things marriage and motherhood. I shared that this is a struggle with me, just slowing down and playing with my kids. She looked at me like I was from Mars. All that to say, maybe not everyone struggles with this. Maybe I’m in the minority here.

But I suspect that I’m not. I suspect that a lot of you awesome parents out there have a hard time setting aside your agenda for the day to enter into your kid’s agenda and that maybe you’re not even sure you know how to play anymore. I mean, you remember it being so fun as a kid, but, sheesh, what did you actually DO?

Learn what they love to do, and do it with them. Karyn Purvis, author of “The Connected Child”, emphasizes the importance of playfulness in bonding and attachment. Though she writes and speaks with children from hard places in mind, I have found her research on parenting and her heart for healthy, well-attached children so valuable and have implemented bits and pieces of her parenting strategies with my own children.

I know it’s hard. And there’s no formula for making it happen or doing it well. If there was, it probably wouldn’t be play, right? But it matters. It’s valuable. Your kids will say and do the funniest things. You’ll get a chance to enter into their world, see their beautiful imaginations, observe what they’re learning, and be delighted in them. Enter into something they enjoy and do it with them. Even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time, just do it.

#2 Give technology a break.

This one’s easier said than done and it’s a popular theme in online parenting advice, but in my home at least, it makes one of the biggest positive impacts.

For some reason, my oldest son LOVES those little nursery rhyme videos on YouTube. And I mean LOVES them. He would watch them for hours if I would let him. Which is great if I’m sick or something, but not so great as an everyday activity. Stopping the videos often elicits tears, anger, and tantrums, none of which make my child very enjoyable. Other activities may require more time, more focus from me, and more cleaning up, but it’s worth it to make parenting more enjoyable.

Parents aren’t off the hook either. I admittedly check my phone too often. Sometimes I use it as a filler between normal activities. Instead of just moving to the next thing I should be doing, I check my notifications. I really, really enjoy Instagram. I read articles, comment on posts, gather advice and suggestions, and watch hilariously dumb videos all on Facebook.

And I sometimes – no, oftentimes- I ignore my son in the process. Keep putting him off. Get exasperated because he won’t just be patient and wait for two minutes. Which he should, right? There’s nothing wrong with expecting and teaching obedience. But there is something wrong with responding in anger, especially over something that’s really not that important. That’s me. Guilty. Way more often than I’d like to admit. And too much technology really feeds that.

#3 Structure life and routines so that you do get some alone time.

It IS important for you to get some time to recharge. Honestly, just because of our own personalities or other stress in our lives, some of us will need this more than others. We are absolutely called to give unselfishly to those around us, but even Jesus sometimes retreated away from the crowds he was serving in order to rest and speak with His Father, and then He continued on His mission.

We won’t be able to enjoy our kids if we’re exhausted, overwhelmed, and stressed out all the time. We will burn out as parents if we never nurture ourselves as well. I think everyone knows this, but it is always a hard balance. So do your best to structure life in such a way that you do get some time to do something you enjoy without your kids, to focus on your spouse, to refuel your heart and mind and body to be able to keep being a good parent.

For me this means I aim to have both kids in bed by 8:30 p.m. My youngest is usually asleep well before that, but it’s a struggle with my three-year-old. He’s in that awkward stage between needing a nap and not needing a nap. If he doesn’t get one he’s a miserable, emotional wreck before we even get to supper time, and if he does get one, he could easily stay up until 10:30.

Which, speaking of dropping naps, I enforce a quiet time every day regardless of needing a nap or not. If my three-year-old falls asleep during quiet time, I try to not let him sleep more than 45-60 minutes so that he’ll still go to bed at a decent time so I can have some time with my husband. But I tell him he doesn’t have to sleep; he just needs to do something quietly on his bed for an hour or so. He sometimes fights me, but if we are home, it happens.

We also have family nearby, and we are blessed that both sets of grandparents are wonderful and love having our kids. I rarely send my youngest because he’s still primarily breastfed and I hate pumping, but usually my three-year-old goes to one of the grandparents’ houses once a week.

Now usually during these naps, and quiet times, and grandparent visits, I’m doing other things that need to be done, but I prioritize reading my Bible the first chance I get each day and then sometimes do something else for me or with my husband during those break times. The point is, those things are built into life as part of our everyday routine, so that on those days when I do reallllly need some alone time, when I need a chance to gather myself and refocus, I can usually get it within a reasonable time.

#4 Do the hard work to help make them enjoyable.

Basically, do the discipline and training necessary to make your kids generally enjoyable to be around. Kids are kids, and they will all misbehave sometimes, and they will sometimes go through really hard stages (ahem threenagers…), but consistently training them to be kind, respectful, and obedient makes a big difference!

I by no means have a great handle on discipline, and there are plenty of situations in which I simply don’t know what to do, but these are a couple books that have helped shape my general framework of parenting: “Parenting by God’s Promises”, “Gospel Powered Parenting”, and “Don’t Make Me Count to Three”.

#5 Do what you enjoy, and include them too!

Don’t stop doing the things you enjoy once you become a parent! There are definitely some activities that are much harder or perhaps impossible with small children in tow, but there are plenty of enjoyable things you can do with your children.

I have always loved being outside, and that is one thing that is really easy to include them in. They both love the outdoors, and we typically spend significant time out in our neighbor’s woods at least a few times a week. Sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed and my patience is wearing out, the best thing to do is just load up the wagon (we have this one) and take the kids out to the woods for a few hours. It is refreshing and recharging for all of us, and it is such a great facilitator for enjoying my kids because it’s something I already enjoy and seeing them partaking in that enjoyment is really pretty awesome.

It takes longer, but it’s also fairly easy to include kids in cooking, baking, or anything artistic or creative. I love to read, and even though my typical book choice would be different, reading to my kids is something we both really enjoy. For the most part, I do what I enjoy doing and just bring my kids along.

You can include your children in the things you already enjoy doing; you just have to let your expectations be flexible. Find the things that you both love, and do them together. It is so rewarding to discover that your child loves the same things you do, that you actually have some common interests!

#6 Remind yourself of the truth.

Sometimes in the day-to-day grind of life and parenting, we can forget the value of what we’re doing. God gave these children to you in this season. Whether you’re a working parent, a stay-at-home parent, a foster, adoptive, or biological parent, you have an important role that no other person can exactly fulfill.

These children have eternal souls. They will make the world a better place or a worse place. They can help to bring healing or they can create more wounds. And we can’t control exactly what they do or don’t do. But our influence is strong, and we can try to equip them for whatever it is God calls them to do. The hard work of equipping them is made much easier when we are enjoying them along the way.

God calls children a gift, a reward, and a blessing, but we don’t always see them that way. (We also often think of gifts and blessings as being easy, not hard, but that’s a post for another day…) Those times when they don’t feel like gifts and blessings – those are the times when we must remind ourselves of that truth the most. I believe God wants us to enjoy His gifts and blessings, and these gifts and blessings include our children.

#7 Pray for them, and for yourself.

With the thought in mind that our children are valuable gifts and blessings with all this potential for either good or bad inside them, it only makes sense that we pray for them. Praying for your children makes you pause and really think about what it is you want for your children, who you hope they will be.

It makes you notice what they are struggling with and be more compassionate toward them. It makes you remember all the funny and precious things they do and how much you love them. And it makes you thank God for all those things. Sometimes we don’t enjoy our children because we don’t even notice them. Praying for them helps you to do just that.

We should also pray for ourselves as parents, pray that we can experience joy in parenting even if there are difficult circumstances that come along with them. Aside from the strength of Christ, there is no way I can parent my children as I should, nor can I enjoy them as I could. Prayer is hard, slow work. It’s not my strongest spiritual discipline for sure. But it does both our souls and the souls of our children eternal good.

Enjoy your children now.

I know it’s cliche, but your children won’t be children forever. These days are just a little blip in eternity, with all the struggles and all the joy. My grandma is 81 and the mother of six children. They often had financial struggles; one of her daughters had special needs and died at 18. Her life, especially as a parent, has not been easy. But she always encourages me, “Enjoy your children. Those days when my children were small were the best years of my life.” She still enjoys her children, but she misses those days when they were all at her table each evening.

I want my children to remember the great things we did together. I want them to remember and know for sure, without a doubt, that they are precious to me. Even though we certainly love our children even when we aren’t enjoying them, I think that those memories of us enjoying each other will help to remind our children that they are our treasures and that they are so, so loved.

So yes, parenting is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, and at times it may even be your greatest struggle. But the joy, even just the memory of the joy, will help to carry you through those trying times. So pursue the joy. Pursue the joy now. And enjoy your children.